| Andrew Miller

Students #ExploreOutside with Online CI Programs!

#ExploreOutside New in the summer of 2020: Cottonwood Institute’s #ExploreOutside online program! That’s right—a program that puts two instructors and a group of students in a Zoom conference to do the exact opposite of what 99% of people are doing on Zoom these days—think about nature and get outdoors!

The first session of this new program, which ran for three weeks in June, was by all measures a success. With a smaller group, everyone got the chance to know one another better, learn new skills, and shine at unusual tasks. Some participants demonstrated their shelter building mastery; others were speed shower champions and kale whisperers. Everyone brought something special to the group!

Together, students learned how and where to explore the natural world around their homes. We also explored what each of us can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Perhaps most importantly, students learned critical outdoor skills like orienteering, so that if they explore too far off the beaten path, they can use a map and compass to find their way back.

#ExploreOutsideIt was also important to find ways to build community even though the group could not meet in person. Each student and instructor spent five minutes becoming “famous” on a different day. That day’s star told their life story in one minute, then answered fun questions from everyone else for four minutes after that. We laughed, we learned, and we always had something new to look forward to at 1 p.m. for the nine days of the session.

We hope each participant uses the inspiration of this program to continue choosing time outside over screen time. We look forward to engaging a new group of minds in our July sessions in the joy you can find when you #ExploreOutside.

Written by #ExploreOutside Instructors Adam Fedyski and Christina Shores

See more photos from the program here!

REGISTER NOW for CI’s Explore Outside online summer programs beginning July 13!

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